10. “Bow Down/I Been On”
The Church of Bey has clearly gone to the pop goddess’s head. A critic at New Wave Feminism writes:
Aside from repeatedly yelling “bow down bitches”, the song also contains lyrics such as “I know when you were little girls / You dreamt of being in my world / Don’t forget it , don’t forget it / Respect that, bow down bitches”. Apparently, Beyoncé thought the appropriate response for young women who admired her and looked up to her was to call them misogynistic slurs and demand they genuflect in her presence.
This Bey Anthem doubles as the death knell of the sisterhood.
9. “Drunk in Love”
If their raunchy Grammys performance featuring a wet, sexed-up Beyonce doing a chair dance to amuse her husband Jay Z didn’t totally turn you off, the lyrics to the song “Drunk in Love” definitely will:
“Your breasteses is my breakfast.” “Catch a charge, I might, beat the box up like Mike” and “Baby know I don’t play…I’m Ike Turner…now eat the cake Anna Mae.”
Nothing says female empowerment like the glorification of taking a beating at the hand of your husband who can master you, but obviously not the English language.
Beyonce’s greatest contribution to feminism is “Flawless,” a song in which she tells her female listeners to “bow down, b*tches” (a popular theme in Bey’s world) because of how flawless she looks. What makes the song feminist in nature has nothing to do with Beyonce and everything to do with the interjection of a narrative by Nigerian feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Loaded with typical feminist aphorisms that whine about marriage and a lack of sisterhood (I wonder if Adichie has listened to “Bow Down/I Been On” yet) including:
“We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
In the way that boys are”
Thus hitting the nail on the head when it comes to the failure of Beyonce’s feminism in particular, and mainstream feminism in general. A more appropriate title for this song would have been “Rage Against Biology,” but that would’ve required a Paglia narrative instead.
“I’m in my penthouse half naked/ I cooked this meal for you naked/ So where the hell you at?”
Nothing beats putting a new twist on the classic misogynistic stereotype “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.” Somewhere I can hear Cartman shouting, “Now get in the kitchen and make me some pie!” To Beyonce, feminism is clearly about equality, specifically a woman’s right to lust after a man as much as a man presumably lusts after a woman. Oh, perhaps that’s what Beyonce means when she advocates for teaching girls that they can be just as sexual as boys. It’s empowering when you’re the one putting yourself in chains, right?
Critiquing her 2013 self-titled album, Tom Hawking details his increasing boredom with what amounted to little more than Beyonce’s sex-life chronicle. Of Blow he writes:
Oh dear god, they’re still at it. “Can you lick my skittles?/ That’s the sweetest in the middle/ Pink that’s the flavor/ Solve the riddle.” What is it with people comparing vaginas to candy this year?
The “my body, my choice” mantra that has justified everything from abortion to slut walks is now being used to defend the comparison of coitus to candy. Far from original, Beyonce must have drawn her inspiration from Katy Perry for this one.
There’s an argument in favor of bondage and masochism in the feminist world, something that “my body, my choice” Beyonce apparently agrees with:
“You ain’t right for doing that to me, daddy/ Even though I’ve been a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad girl/ Tell me what you’re gonna do about that/ Punish me, please.”
Gross. And this woman is being worshiped as a goddess. Daisy Lindlar, a self-identified feminist who thinks Bey makes a good feminist role model, argues,
“She shows that you can be enjoy sex, put a career on hold to look after your kids, you can even get married and take your husband’s name, and this does not make you a “bad” feminist.”
No, none of these things make you a bad feminist. However, asking to be “punished” by your husband doesn’t make you a good one, either.
Driver roll up the partition please [×2]
I don’t need you seeing Yoncé on her knees
Took 45 minutes to get all dressed up
We ain’t even gonna make it to this club
Now my mascara runnin’, red lipstick smudged
Oh he so horny, yeah he want to f–k
He popped all my buttons and he ripped my blouse
He Monica Lewinski’d all on my gown
Because nothing screams black feminist more than referencing the sex act that got the first black president impeached in relation to your own sexual denigration in the back of a limousine. I suppose it’s good to know the goddess does get on her knees occasionally, if only to serve her man. Note: The music video for “Partition” is so explicit that viewers are required to verify their age on YouTube before watching it.
3. “Grown Woman”
In case you haven’t caught on by now, Beyonce’s feminism is totally and completely related to her body. Sex is purely the pursuit of physical pleasure, and the greatest achievement in Bey’s world is using your body to get a man to perform sexual favors for you:
I’m a grown woman, so I know how to ride it
I’m a grown woman, and I’m so erotic
I’m a grown woman, put down I’m so excited
I’m a grown woman, look at my body
Ain’t no fun, if a girl can’t have none
You really wanna know how I got it like that
Cause I got a cute face and my booty so fat
Go girl, she got that bum, that bum
That girl, will get whatever she wants
That girl, she got that tight, that tight
Them boys, will do whatever what she likes
It’s a twisted kind of equality that makes whores of women and men alike.
Probably the most disturbing Beyonce video yet, “Haunted” is a fairly typical postcolonial critique of rich, white world versus “minority” blacks and gays, depicted in this instance as sexual deviants. Why would a black woman who views graphic black female sexuality as liberating and empowering choose to depict that same sexuality as destructive and divisive? If she were trying to get back at critics for accusing her of encouraging bad behavior, why do so by employing the image you’re trying to fight against?
Writhing around naked under semi-sheer silky fabric, Beyonce sings a cynical tune about the meaninglessness of the pop music industry. Turning what could be a serious discussion on the intersection of art and finance into the simplistic “musicians are whores” trope, this rather boring song and equally as boring video are the nihilistic cherry on Beyonce’s Sex for Lust’s Sake sundae of a sad career.
Beyonce’s feminism is informed by nothing more than pop culture du jour. There is nothing long lasting nor deeply contemplative about a feminism ignorant of biology, obsessed with sexual enslavement and inspired by little more than the latest TED Talk. The most audiences can learn from Beyonce’s brand of feminism is that sex is good, pain is better, and all goddesses are really slaves in pretty chains, rendering her not all that different from Lena Dunham after all.